LFP169 – A Serial Entrepreneur’s Guide To Fund-Raising w/Peter Keenan CEO Apexx Global

Capital-raising is an absolutely core-skill for entrepreneurs and their growing businesses – and every tech business de facto needs to grow (margins low and intense competition).

Peter Keenan, CEO and co-founder of merchants-payments provider Apexx Global, has raised capital in a total of five companies and thus talks to us from a position of considerable personal experience.

Most capital raisings most of the time for most companies are challenging processes. Thus all can benefit from hearing experiences and case studies – whether one has never done it, or whether one has done it many times.

Topics discussed include:

  • Arsenal football club
  • Irish school ball games
  • Peter’s career journey and breadth of business experience
  • Peter’s experience of many differently-funded businesses
  • there is not one route of raising funds – it varies between different types of business
  • how it works from day 1 – sweat equity and dividing the company ownership between founders
  • the perversity of employee equity schemes in fast-growing companies
  • Case Study re founding Apexx and how it worked out in the early days including initial raise
  • early market feedback before raising from initial investors
  • initial investors are backing the people as well as a initially market-validated plan
  • the importance of key milestones in getting to the next raise and creating confidence
  • super-important – how on earth to approach the question of what price to sell x% of the company in such early days??
  • Case Study thereof
  • “naughty Angels” – caveat founder
  • the importance to experienced Angels and VCs of the founders having enough skin in the game – even in later rounds
  • this is vital especially in times of pain and difficulty – need founders lashed to the mast
  • how to avoid being fleeced in early days – how Peter solves that challenge
  • how to value your company when it’s super-young
  • the importance in NewCos and also the biggest Cos in the world of “valuation” meets “marketplace” – this process key
  • the importance of “leading” the market to a valuation
  • how many potential funders does Peter approach in an early raise?
  • having got the initial marker you look for at least 100% growth in the valuation p.a. every year after that
  • “going in cold to Angels is very hard” 
  • the importance of using one’s network and warm introductions
  • the importance of finding Angels/funders who understand your sector – “get an Angel who really understands your sector and [if they are on-side] then you are off to the races”
  • lead Angels kicking tyres and their networks
  • the value of someone on your Board with capital-raising experience
  • the importance of employee share-schemes in retaining and incentivising key staff
  • how this relates to easing internal management/team decisions – “does it make the boat go faster?”
  • where to go as a noob if you have no idea about employee share schemes
  • non-tech businesses and their very different funding profiles/approaches
  • VC’s are only relevant to certain types of business
  • VC’s modus operendi and how that affects their investing strategy
  • strategic partners and the many complexities they bring – pros and cons
  • the law of unintended consequences
  • keeping the partner interested
  • getting traction can be fart harder within your mega partner – internal dynamics in MegaCo and how they generally operate
  • expectations/outcomes
  • governments as a source of funds – increasingly due to the huge increase in the State seen in 2020
  • pros and cons of State grants
  • EU grants
  • timescales can be very long
  • “Apexx Global – a payment gateway that connects large global e-commerce businesses [in 5 markets or more] into multiple payment acquirers”
  • independent of any acquirer, connected to over 100 acquirers around the world, route payments to the best acquirer thus reducing fees and increasing acceptance rates
  • “we can improve conversion rates by  about 5% and lower your costs by about 20%”
  • how their service works in practice
  • founded in 2016 and have 75 staff split between London and India

And much much more 🙂

Share and enjoy!